Bucking the trend: Scaling is cool
If you’ve been around CrossFit long enough, you know that workouts, especially benchmarks, tend to provide recommended weights, movements and volume that is categorized as “Rx’d” or “as prescribed.” As you start into CrossFit and get exposed to more and more classes, you start to feel that doing workouts “as prescribed” is like the holy grail, the ultimate goal for your training. At some gyms, you’ll even get to put a little “RX” next to your score and name on a whiteboard, like it’s a status symbol.
To be fair, striving to perform workouts “as prescribed” is a noble challenge. However, I would add a caveat to that designation: we should strive to perform workouts with perfect, consistent mechanics and meeting the intended stimulus of the workout. If we can do that with the recommended weights, skills and rep scheme, then by all means, get after it!
But if you’re going “Rx’d” and aren’t meeting movement standards or consistently feel like every workout is impossible, then perhaps it’s time to address your decision making. Sure you may be able to handle the weight listed early in the workout, but can you still move it well once you’re a few rounds deep? Sure, you can do 30 handstand push-ups, broken up into sets but it’ll take you the entire time cap to get them done, leaving three other movements hanging (and a whole lot of fitness on the table).
Consider this: a good coach is going to provide you with two major tools that can help you decide how you can make a workout your own. To be clear, this can mean scaling UP or DOWN, depending on your ability level. The first of these tools is that we generally know approximately what the workout should feel like - how long each round or set should take you, if you’re expected to move fast or slow with the weight listed, when you’d ideally complete the work (one of the reasons why we write time caps). Use this information and overlay it with what you know of your own abilities - do my abilities allow me to accomplish the intended stimulus as described to me by my coach? If the answer is yes, then knock yourself out. But if it is no, then ask your coach for help on how to adjust a variable (or variables) to meet the standard and expectation.
The other tool is this concept of viewing “scaling” instead as “progression.” Let’s change the conversation from “I can’t do that - I always have to change it” or “I’m less than because I can’t do the prescribed movement” to “I’m working on a component of this given movement which will help me to eventually do the movement as written.” First, the latter statement is much more empowering - it evokes development and allows you room to grow. Second, the former statements come from a fixed mindset. If you believe skills or abilities to be innate things that we either have or we don’t, we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to learn, grow and adapt.
Next time you come in for a workout, really pay attention to what the standards (or expectations) are around that workout. Then work with your coach to find a progression or approach that allows you to meet those standards while still challenging yourself to improve.
Metcon - Every 3 minutes for 21 minutes, perform:
17 Air squats
3 Clean + jerks*
*Athletes will have two options to their approach on the CnJ.
OPTION 1 - Build in weight, performing technically sound single reps. An example of weights to be used may be as follows:
Men - 95/115/135/155/175/185/205
Women - 65/75/85/95/105/115/125
Athletes should talk to their coach about what weights and jumps would be right for them.
OPTION 2 - Select a moderate weight to be used to drill touch-and-go CnJ reps. Focus on consistency in your cycle time and position throughout the workout.